Screaming Faces Made of Dots

The night before the Twin Towers fell, my brother Phillip tried to remove my nose with an X-Acto knife. I was eight years old. Phillip was eleven. We were in the living room, where a glass auditorium of ceramic angels observed our every move. The angels had belonged to our mother’s best friend, Colleen, who died from a brain tumor two years earlier, just shy of the new millennium. Mom felt responsible for the tumor, which had quietly blossomed near Colleen’s ear, presumably where the telephone went on the many nights Mom called Colleen to complain about her life: how my father had dumped us in Kansas like a sack of newborn kittens, how every day she thought about packing up and leaving, heading back to New York City to reclaim him. She would drag him to the prairie by his earlobes, so he could suffer alongside us. Of course,

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